A New Breakthrough in Glaucoma Treatment
Helps Reduce or Eliminate the Need for Eye Drops
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an advanced new therapy designed to reduce eye pressure in patients with glaucoma.
This new form of laser therapy is useful for a wide range of glaucoma patients. In moderate to severe forms of glaucoma SLT can effectively reduce the number of different types of eye drops needed for pressure control. With milder forms of glaucoma, it is often effective in eliminating the need for eye drops altogether.
Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, resulting in a gradual loss of vision. This damage is usually caused by an elevation of pressure within the eye. A clear fluid, called aqueous humor, fills the front part of the eye and provides nourishment to certain tissues inside the eye. Aqueous humor is usually produced at a constant rate and leaves the eye through an internal drainage system.
Glaucoma occurs when there is a partial blockage of this internal drainage system. With this blockage, there is an increase in pressure inside the eye, which in turn reduces blood flow to the optic nerve. Over time, a reduction in blood flow causes damage to the nerve. The new laser helps to reopen the aqueous drainage, thereby reducing pressure in the eye and protecting the nerve.
In the past, another form of laser therapy called Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) has been used. The ability to retreat an eye with ALT was quite limited. ALT worked by making small holes in the drainage system of the eye. SLT selectively stimulates pigment cells in the drainage system that improves outflow without damaging these cells. For this reason, SLT may be repeated when needed. SLT has also been found to be effective when ALT and other forms of medical treatment have failed. See below for the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about SLT.
How is SLT performed? SLT is an outpatient procedure. The patient sits in a standard exam chair. For comfort during the procedure, an anesthetic drop is placed in the patient’s eye. The entire procedure only takes a few moments.
How often do I need to receive SLT treatments? One application often lasts for years. Depending on individual circumstances and goals, another application may be needed at some point in the future.
How does SLT work? SLT works by using laser light to stimulate the body’s own healing response to lower the eye pressure. Using a special wavelength and energy, the laser affects only pigmented (melanin containing) cells of your eye. SLT improves the flow of fluid in the eye, which in turn lowers the eye pressure.
Does SLT work for all types of glaucoma? There are different types of glaucoma. While SLT works on most, it does not work for all. Your doctor will know the appropriate course of action.
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